BANGKOK (AP) — Law enforcement authorities have appealed to Thailand’s ecclesiastical supervisory board to defrock a senior Buddhist monk they’ve been unable to arrest on charges of accepting embezzled funds for his temple.
Police on Friday entered the vast compound of the Dhammakaya sect’s headquarters temple to search for 72-year-old Phra Dhammajayo with the permission of the senior monks there. A similar three-day search three weeks ago failed to find Dhammajayo, and police have besieged the site north of Bangkok since then.
The Supreme Sangha Council on Friday accepted the case against Dhammajayo forwarded by the Department of Special Investigation, Thailand’s FBI. The council could order Dhammajayo defrocked, but resolving the case could take years if it is appealed in the courts.